Patel v. Chavez, 85 Cal. App. 5th 712 (2022)

Manuel Chavez was employed as an on-site hotel property manager by DTWO & E, Inc. and Stuart Union, LLC from 2002 to 2016. Chavez alleged he was paid less than the minimum wage and that the employers committed wage theft. In 2017, the Labor Commissioner issued two order, decision or awards (ODA's) finding in favor of Chavez and ordered Stuart Union to pay $235,000. Stuart Union brought a procedurally defective appeal pursuant to Labor Code Section 98.2 and PIIC (the insurance company) posted a bond under protest. The Court of Appeal affirmed several orders in favor of Chavez, including a dismissal in the entirety, finding that the appeal was invalid. After PIIC refused to release the bond to Chavez, Chavez filed a motion with the trial court, which entered judgment against the employer and PIIC as surety.

In this appeal, the employer claimed the trial court lacked jurisdiction to release the bond or enter judgment. The Court of Appeal rejected the argument that the proceedings should have been stayed pending the appeal because "[t]he pendency of an appeal does not stay enforcement of a money judgment absent an undertaking." An undertaking is a separate bond that must be posted that ranges between 1.5 to 2 times the amount of the judgment; however, in this case, the employer only posted a bond in the amount of the judgment itself. The Court, rejecting the employer's second argument that the trial court lacked jurisdiction because the section 98.2 appeal was invalid, held that while the posting of a bond is a jurisdictional prerequisite to a section 98.2 appeal, the reverse (i.e., a valid section 98.2 appeal is a jurisdictional prerequisite for a court to issue orders regarding such a bond) is "not necessarily true." See also Adanna Car Wash Corp. v. Gomez, 2023 WL ___ (Cal. Ct. App. 2023)(employer's posting of licensing bond does not satisfy appeal bond requirement under section 98.2).

Judgment Against Employer Was Enforceable Where Appeal Was Invalid

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